The latest craze lately has been weighted blankets. These blankets are used to calm anxiety and make so many people feel safe and comfortable. Knowing that they are used to help ease a person’s anxiety, do you think they should have a role in dentistry? Let’s dive further into weighted blankets to see if they are worth using in the dental office.
What are weighted blankets?
You might have seen these on commercials or through Amazon, but weighted blankets typically tend to weigh between five and 30 pounds. When laying under the weighted blanket, the pressure that a person’s body receives imitates a deep pressure stimulation.
What does that mean? It means you are receiving a firm but gentle squeezing, hugging or holding. As a result, it helps to relax the nervous system. This deep pressure stimulation can help a person’s body move from a “fight or flight” response to a “rest and digest” response.
By moving from flight or flight to rest and digest, the body ultimately lets go of stress and anxiety to a more relaxed sense of calm and peace. It seems like a great solution for those who suffer from anxiety and stress.
The potential role in dentistry
When visiting the dentist, fear and anxiety are far too common. This is in part due to being nervous about a procedure or just having anxiety about your health. Regardless of the reason why our patients are nervous when entering our offices, it is important that we exhaust all options to eliminate those fears so they can make the most of their dental visits.
If we look at what a weighted blanket is and what it is supposed to do, can this help our patients? Ultimately it is like wearing an x-ray vest, but instead of for a brief period of time, they would wear it the entire visit if possible.
I anticipate that use of a weighted blanket that is high quality would help patients become more relaxed and less tense. I have not tried this approach yet, but I am curious if anyone else has tried the use of a weighted blanket in their office to calm dental fears and anxiety?